Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Franz Liszt, Leslie Howard|
Liszt: The Complete Music for Solo Piano Vol. 23
Genres: Special Interest, Classical
Liszt the Translator
Hexameron | 07/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Volume 23 in the Hyperion Liszt series validates Liszt's phenomenal mastery of transcribing, and in the case of Berlioz's "Harold in Italy," translating an orchestral work with viola obbligato into a magnificent chamber work for piano and viola. The excellent content of Berlioz's work alone can easily earn five stars, but the other three substantial transcriptions of Gounod and Meyerbeer enhance the splendor of this recording even further.
Hector Berlioz's "Harold in Italy" is an unusual work with a fascinating history. The story of Paganini's involvement, dissatisfaction, and later ecstatic reaction, are too long to detail in this review. Perhaps it seemed odd for Berlioz to give the viola a programmatic and thematic importance, but his choice was a highly artistic one. It would certainly make Liszt's job at transcribing a little more difficult, and yet the results are thoroughly convincing. Howard even says that "Although Liszt's partition could scarcely be called chamber music, it is undeniable that, without Berlioz's orchestration, the viola part is heard to much greater advantage than is usually the case, and from time to time a real chamber music texture emerges..." And like Liszt's transcription of the Symphonie Fantastique, the piano is able to encapsulate all of Berlioz's grandiose orchestration within the versatile timbres of the piano. The last movement, "Orgie de brigands," is particularly effective, with the "brigand" theme realized wonderfully in the piano's registers. There is no denying the individuality and caliber of Berlioz's work; it's one of his best. However, Liszt's meticulous arrangement, buttressed by Howard's and Coletti's interpretative diligence, manages to create a new and unique aural experience.
Liszt's famous "Romance oubliee" has appeared many times throughout this series, and while the viola adds a tint of melancholic color to the work, I think Liszt's 1848 piano version is indomitable. After "Harold in Italy," the major transcriptions on this recording are Gounod's "Hymne A Sainte Cecile" and Meyerbeer's "Le Moine." Liszt displays his understanding of the piano's abilities remarkably well in the "Hymne," a piece that although I've never heard, seems utterly beautiful and sonorous under Howard's fingers. This work, Howard notes, "was scored for solo violin, harps, drums and winds" but the engrossing piano version leaves little to be desired. Liszt makes an additional triumph with his transcriptions of Meyerbeer's "Le Moine" and the "March for the Schiller centenary." Both resemble the dramatic and melodious arrangements found in the "Liszt at the Opera" Volumes of the Hyperion series. Their neglect is perplexing, but thankfully Howard has resurrected them for our enjoyment.
Bottom line: The duo performance of "Harold in Italy" is by itself worthy of five stars. With all the lame arrangements of original music for chamber ensemble floating around, Liszt's transcription is a waft of fresh air and a real artistic achievement. The three very rare but substantial transcriptions of Gounod and Meyerbeer further seals this Volume off as an essential addition to the Liszt discography."
Another winner for Mr. Howard
Santiago Barcon | Mexico city | 09/06/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Without any doubt the Howard - Hyperion effort on the complete piano music of Liszt is one of the most interesting collections in the classical music today. Of course being 95 CD's makes difficult to buy all, but this is a winner.Liszt made transcriptions of different kind of music and Harold en Italie is one of the best. Music that works ith the piano. For example the Beethoven's Symphony transcriptions lack this, and by the way Mr. Howards version are the bestAlso you get a first recording.Playing is flawless and with heart.I had the pelasure to see Mr. Howard twice this year, and he is one of the best pianist.Highly recomended"